The Government will spend VNĐ2.269 trillion (US$100 million) over the next two years on buying five active substances and 22 types of drugs for public hospitals and healthcare centres.— Photo soha.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Government will spend VNĐ2.269 trillion (US$100 million) over the next two years on buying five active substances and 22 types of drugs for public hospitals and healthcare centres.
This was the main result of the first ever national centralised bidding for procurement of medicines held on Monday.
Of the 22 drugs, five are specialised drugs and the remaining 17 are generic ones.
Health Ministry officials said the bidding helped save over VNĐ477 billion ($21 million) for the State Budget. Under the earlier decentralised procurement process, the ministry estimates the pharmaceutical products would have cost about VNĐ2.746 trillion ($121 million).
Deputy Health Minister Phạm Lê Tuấn said that when the bids were organised separately by localities, hospitals or healthcare centres, the costs of a drug differed greatly, and were also likely to be more expensive.
The centralised bidding process would have the added advantage of making it easier to manage the supply, cost and quality of drugs, Tuấn said.
Deputy General Director of Việt Nam Social Security, Phạm Lương Sơn, said that the centralised bidding was expected to be an effective way to ensure supply of proper medicines to patients at reasonable costs as well as increase efficiency of using health insurance funds for medical check-ups and treatment.
The Health Ministry had announced in March, 2017 the establishment of the National Centralised Drug Procurement Centre (NCDPC) to handle shortcomings in the then prevalent bidding process and drug price management in the country.
The centre, functioning under the Health Ministry, will assume responsibility of organising bids for procuring pharmaceutical products compiled after collecting requirements from public hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide.
The centre will also negotiate prices for drugs on the list in accordance with the law.
Bids for drugs outside the list of centralised bidding will be conducted at all three levels – central, provincial and lower-level State-run facilities –under the management of the new centre.
Officials say this will contribute to effective utilisation of health insurance funds for medical check-ups and treatment, enhance fund balancing capability and ensure the rights of patients with health insurance.
According to Việt Nam Social Security, in 2015, the expenditure on medicines was VNĐ26 trillion, accounting for 48.3 per cent of the health insurance fund.
Deputy director of the Hà Nội Health Department, Trần Văn Trung, said that they had organised a local centralised drug bidding procurement for the first time.
He said difficulties remained relating to the four different lists of drugs, given that the process was different, with some being handled by the Health Ministry and Việt Nam Social Security, and others by localities or healthcare centres with their own lists.
Trung said that for each list, bidding organisers would sign contracts with winning bidders and the contract terms were different, causing difficulties for hospitals in receiving and paying for the medicines. — VNS